Joe Root    Getty Images
Joe Root Getty Images

England captain Joe Root has admitted his side have a “point to prove” as they look to square a two-Test series with Pakistan. Root’s men could be without Ben Stokes after the all-rounder suffered a tight hamstring during fielding practice at Headingley on Wednesday. Stokes will now undergo a scan to assess the full extent of the injury and is set to face a fitness test before England decide whether he can face Pakistan at Yorkshire’s headquarters when the series finale starts on Friday.

Uncapped teenaged Surrey seamer Sam Curran has been called up as cover for fellow paceman Stokes. “Of course if Ben’s fit we want him in the side, he’s one of our best players, he brings a lot to the table and offers so much to this team,” Root told Sky Sports on Thursday.

Pakistan won the first Test by nine wickets at Lord’s inside four days on Sunday to go 1-0 up in a two-match series but Root believes the fact his team are back in action so soon will benefit them in Leeds. “I think it helps us getting straight back into it, not having too much time to think about things,” Root said ahead of a match at his Yorkshire home ground. It was very clear where we needed to improve from last week,” added the batsman, whose England side have lost six of their last eight Test matches. We’ve had some good preparation, the guys have really worked hard and now it’s just doing it, going out and proving a point, putting a really strong performance in as a group and showing some pride in the badge.”

Lancashire’s Keaton Jennings has been recalled to the top of the order in place of the dropped Mark Stoneman to partner Alastair Cook. “He will be desperate to take his opportunity,” said Root of Jennings. “Every player in this side wants to make an impact this week. Every time we play a Test match there are all sorts of different pressures that come with it and for Keaton it’s a great opportunity. I hope he looks at it that way and goes out and expresses himself in his own way.”

Root has found himself under pressure for a failure to convert fifties into Test hundreds, but he insisted he felt good about his game. “When you are winning and performing well you have to keep churning out those performances and when you’re on the other side of it you’ve got to make sure you turn it round,” Root said. “As always I’ve gone into practice, felt if there were any areas I wanted to work on and got them done so I can go in full of confidence tomorrow and know I’ve given myself the best chance. It’s nice to have that feeling going into any game.”

Sarfraz Ahmed says…

“We need to keep improving all the time.As well as we played at Lord’s, we can still play better than that. We made four 50s at Lord’s — and if one of them had gone on to the big hundred that would’ve been even better. (Same with the bowlers) if they take three or four wickets, make it five or six.

The last time we won a series in England was in 1996, when Wasim (Akram) and Waqar (Younis) were around, and we drew at Leeds then. We have to forget Lord’s and move on to this now. If we want to move ahead as a team we have to forget our wins. We did well, we enjoyed it for two days, but now we’re here,” he concluded.